cover image Moonrise


Sarah Crossan. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-68119-366-3

It%E2%80%99s been 10 years since 17-year old Joe has seen his older brother, Ed, who is on death row for murder. After Ed%E2%80%99s execution date is set, Joe travels to Wakeling, Tex., to be near him in his final weeks. As his brother vehemently denies his guilt and hopes for a stay of execution, Joe, lonely in an unfamiliar place, reflects on their difficult childhood; the good-hearted, protective Ed of his memories; and the shadowed, convicted murderer he sees daily. Crossan (One) masterfully portrays Joe%E2%80%99s intense feelings of confusion, anger, and abandonment through conversational, fluid free verse, with thoughtful rhythm and line breaks. Joe%E2%80%94and even Ed%E2%80%94are sympathetic characters, and readers may shudder at memories of their mother%E2%80%99s neglect and the guilt-by-association Joe experiences as a relative of a convicted felon and death-row inmate. New relationships with Wakeling locals, all of whom have an attachment to the prison, allow Joe a retreat from the heaviness of his thoughts and room to recognize important truths: %E2%80%9CWe aren%E2%80%99t the worst things we did / or the worst things that happen to us. / We%E2%80%99re other stuff too.%E2%80%9D Ages 14%C2%ACup. Agent: Julia Churchill, A.M. Heath. (May)